Mercedes Unstoppable As Hamilton & Co Dominate Austrailian GP Qualifying
It was meant to be a much closer battle at the front during the Australian GP qualifying session. Ferrari were the ones to beat and F1.com were so convinced they even did a video comparison of how much quicker the Ferrari was through turn one of the Albert Park circuit. It turns out F1.com were fooling themselves more than anyone. And probably Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas had qualifying all to themselves.
However, Hamilton was made to work for his post-qualifying lunch break as he narrowly claimed pole by 1/10th of a second with a time of 1:20.486. Favourites, Ferrari, were 7/10ths off the pace.
Sebastian Vettel could only manage third such was the total dominance of team Mercedes during Q3. Max Verstappen might give Ferrari a bit of a headache, the new Red Bull Honda package was only one-tenth behind in 4th.
Lando “Calrissian” Norris made it into Q3 on his debut and planted the McLaren Renault package in 8th, fellow Birt new-boy George Russell was way-way-way back in 19th for the stricken Williams team.
The return of Robert Kubica didn’t go according to plan, he tripped over himself in Q1, punctured a rear tyre and didn’t set a representative time.
Thailand’s Alex Albon made a promising debut by beating his experienced Torro Rosso team mate, Daniil Kvyat, by securing 13th on the grid.
But the real question is will Mercedes have the race pace to win? Qualifying is only part of the equation for winning a Grand Prix. The most important part of the equation is Sunday, race day that’s when it really matters.
Red Bull traditionally are more competitive during the longer race runs, so to are Ferrari. So expect the qualifying gap to reduce. Or we could be completely wrong and Mercedes cruise to an easy win.
2019 Australian Grand Prix Qualifying Results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:20.486
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.112s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.704s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.834s
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.956s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.340s
7 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.613s
8 Lando Norris McLaren 1.818s
9 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1.828s
10 Sergio Perez Racing Point 2.295
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:22.532
12 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:22.570
13 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 1:22.636
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1:22.714
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:22.774
16 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1:23.017
17 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 1:23.020
18 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1:23.084
19 George Russell Williams 1:24.360
20 Robert Kubica Williams 1:26.067